Conservative Backlash to Sheldon Adelson and RAWA

November 23rd, 2014 | by Brian Corlisse
Adelson's RAWA bill is losing support

Sheldon Adelson’s RAWA bill is losing support (Image: Dailystomer)

Sheldon Adelson’s RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) push hit an unexpected snag this week after it emerged there is growing concern among Republicans regarding the purpose of the anti-online gambling bill.

A recent report by the Washington Post hinted that a number of GOP members are concerned that a move to outlaw online gambling at a federal level would undermine the core values of conservative politics.

Essentially, if Adelson’s bill is made law then it would take away each State’s ability to determine its own rules regarding online gambling. This is being seen by some as a violation of the notion that States shouldn’t be overpowered by the federal government.

Conservative Friction

Although Adelson hasn’t been mentioned by name, RAWA was not only instigated by the billionaire casino magnate but heavily funded by him. Aside from the contention between the bill and party politics, the issue has also highlighted the problem that exists between “megadonors” and the entities they fund. In instances where the donor’s personal agenda (in Adelson’s case his business interests) conflicts with the party’s principles, it creates a friction.

One of the men leading the recent backlash is the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist. After joining the group of 10 conservative leaders who are opposed to Adelson’s bill, Norquist said that States “don’t need federal government babysitting them.”

As expected, Adelson’s team of anti-online gaming advocates aren’t going down without a fight despite a hearing of the bill being dropped from the House Judiciary Committee’s schedule earlier this week. Although no one has responded directly to the recent comments by Norquist, a spokesman for Adelson’s coalition did confirm that it’s a “goal” they are still pursuing not only for their own ends, but for “families across America.”

A Move against Cronyism

Although the industry is far from being sheltered from Adelson’s crosshair, it does seem as though there is mounting opposition to the casino owner’s agenda. Despite hiding behind the guise that online gambling is a “danger” to society, it’s become clear to some that a federal ban on igaming would serve to help Adelson’s business empire.

Such “crony capitalism“, as it’s been described by former congressman Ron Paul, is something a growing number of politicians seem to be fighting back against. Of course, Adelson’s pledged to spend whatever it takes to get a Republican in the Whitehouse and to outlaw online gambling is still a concern for lobbyists such as the Poker Players Alliance. However, with cracks beginning to appear in the foundation of Adelson’s core group of supporters, the situation isn’t looking as bleak as it once was.


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